Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 54, Midsommar, Maypole, Swedish Pigs say "Nuff", Promptings and Baptism from O-Vik!

The lady singing for all of us (sångledare)


Så this week was a little bit different because we had something called Midsommar here in Sweden which is basically a huge celebration of the fact that it is the longest day of the year... I didn't notice anything different because I literally haven't seen it get dark since I got here. But it was a really good couple of days and we weren't able to proselyte on Friday and Saturday because of the celebration. It was a good time and basically we were outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather with members and got to dance around the may pole (well just me the other missionaries thought it was dumb to do that) but you know me... super shy and self conscious. So, in other words I danced around the pole like a frog and a pig and sang swedish songs... good times. Also, fun fact, here in Sweden the pigs say "nuff" instead of oink. I cant decide if they are geniuses or just wrong. But that was a really fun time.

Making the May pole
Anyways, we started our week in Boden which is north of Luleå on splits in the highest part of the mission. That was cool, Elder Halterman and I were able to just go around and contact and teach all day which is sometimes a little rare that we can just have a normal proselyting day all day so that was super nice. Elder Krebs had the phone so that's why ;) We were able to find a couple more people that they can teach up there in the actual great white north... (which is beautiful by the way).

Later on in the week we had a cool little mirakel. Elder Krebs and I were canceled on by one of our investigators (which never happens so that was super weird;)) But we had two backup plans and decided to pray and figure out the area that we needed to go work in. We got a strong prompting to go somewhere else completely and go by someone that lived there and then just work in that area if he wasn't home. We got out of the car and started to walk to the apartment building and we saw someone on the other side of the parking lot getting out of her car. so even though it might look weird ( again I am very shy) we did a little about face and walked over to her. I can only imagine how intimidating that would have been for her when two men in white shirts and ties started walking from the other side of the parking lot at her. But we introduced ourselves and were able to teach her there about our syfte and the message that we wanted to share with her. She told us that we absolutely could and we came back the next day with a less active member to teach with us that lives in the same building. Wow, it was pretty amazing and we are looking forward to teach her more this week. You have my witness that God answers prayers and gives us guidance when we put our best effort forward and rely on Him as we do what we can.

I haven't changed too much... apparently :)
We also had that baptism from Ö-Vik on Sunday!!! They came up and had their baptism with us in Umeå so we took care of the clothes and the font and made sure that everything was ready to go. That is one thing that I appreciate more on my mission is how much planning and preperation it takes to get things running and going smoothly. But anyways, The lady that I had the opportunity of finding with Elder Ahlström was baptized on Sunday and it was an amazing service. She came out of the water and just said "Wow, that was the baptism. That was pretty easy!" Haha I think sometimes people have this big build up like they are going to have to jump through like 6 flaming hoops and get through an obstacle course before they get to be baptized. But the amazing thing is that even though it is super simple, that the spirit is so strong every time and that God allows people like me to set up and perform this sacred ordinance is pretty incredible.

I love this work and that I am able to be a small part of it. One thing that I read during the week was in Mosiah 26:38 where it says that the people in the church were, "teaching the word of God in all things" So not only were they teaching on Sunday or when Family home evening rolled around but they taught the people around them with their examples and how they handled situations. I think that is what God means when he said to have an eye single to the glory of God. that as we figure out how to be better that we teach those around us. Maybe in our words but in what we do and what we stand for. I know that this work is Gods work and we are expecting some more miracles here in Umeå så stay tuned!!

Älskar er,
Äldste Israelsen

Week 53, Officially Over One Year and Soooo Many Things Still to Learn!

Intervju with Inger


I am officially over my one year mark on a mission and it feels super weird. One of those feelings where you feel like you have been here for a day and an eternity at the same time. like I cant remember exactly what I did before my mission but I still feel like I have soooo many things to learn that there is no way that I have been here for a year. But life goes on and we will see what the next year has in store. I am pretty excited for that. Other than that this week has been pretty amazing we have gotten to see some amazing people and places and worked with different missionaries as well. We were on splits (working with the missionaries in our zone) for 3 days of the week which is super weird but common for us.

We went on splits first to Skellefteå and I had the opportunity to work with Äldste Featherstone!! He is in the same group as me and it was super good to work with my old Zone Leader in the MTC. We had to drive halfway and then take a bus to Skellefteå and we started talking to this lady at the bus stop and were able to teach her the whole hour and a half up to Skellefteå and she loved the message that we had!! The spirit was there on a bus in the middle of nowhere Sweden teaching this woderful lady and us more about the gospel. Super cool experience to just bear testimony like that on a buss and we got her number and set up another appointment to come and teach her and her husband. It was nice to be there and to have to walk to our appointments and just talk to as many people as we ran into which is sometimes hard in a car. But we were able to teach a member and his friend and people on the streets for the rest of the night. The next day was another day of teaching and contacting and then travelling back to Umeå.

On splits in Skellefteå with Äldste Featherstone
On Thursday we had an interview in Ö-Vik for a baptism with a lady that they taught for the first time while I was on splits there so it was cool to go back just a few short weeks later and interview her for baptism. She is going to be baptized in Umeå next Sunday and we are all super excited for that. When the elders taught her about the word of Wisdom and cofee and tea she just said, "ok so I should just throw them away then?" and apparently they said, "yeah, or give it to your neighbors." and then she told them that if she didnt want to break Gods commandments that she didnt want to be the cause to someone else breaking the commandments either haha. They kinda got told but her faith is amazing and she was ready for the message that we had when we knocked on her door:).

We had the pleasure of having a fireside from the mission president and his wife (because he is the president of the distrikt in Norrland...) and he gave a fireside on how we need to remember who we are and to have that become our motivations to share the gospel and to build our own testimonies because if we dont build our own then there is no point in sharing it with others. It was really powerful and really cool to hear their testimonies to the people of Norrland. We also had branch Konferens on Sunday that we got to hear from all of the leaders in the distrikt and their testimonies of how they want the distrikt turned into a stake. It is the missionary goal for Norrland over the next 5 years or so and they are really pushing for it. A lot of that responsibility falls to us to get the ward involved in the missionary work that we do but also the work that they should do individually as well. We had 5 or so investigators in church which was really awesome to see them come to something like a branch Konferens.

Cupcakes made for us in the relief society activity
We have had miracles in finding new people this week with investigators bringing family to lessons and with just tracting and finding. We have been in the right place at the right time a lot this week and I am so grateful that we can be those people that just tell other people about the good news of the gospel. It is something that has been so important for me in my life and the fact that I can just share it is pretty amazing for these 2 years. I am excited to see the miracles of the next year and what it has to offer. Transfer calls are this week as well, President said I will be staying here but getting a new companion so we will see if that is the truth at the end of this week.
Ni får ha det så bra så länge!!

Äldste Israelsson
1 and 2 On splits in Skellefteå with Äldste Featherstone
3.Intervju with Inger :)
4. Cupcakes made for us in the relief society activity :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 52, Zone Konferens, If you don't know if it is true then ASK


This past week has been one of the most hectic of my mission and I feel like I did about a billion things and that it was about a month but it also went so fast that it feels like a day so it was super weird. The Zone Konferens went super well it was an answer to a lot of my questions and a lot of my prayers for the past little while actually. It was all about being disciples of God in the digital age but we were given no iPads so like it was a little bit of a let down for people haha. No but we talked about having technology on our missions will help us to be righteous technology users after our missions which has become a really big issue lately. Using technology in the way that it should and needs to be used. The big topic though was about magnifying our callings which was amazing. We read out of a talk from elder Eyring in the 2002 Konferens that is called "Rise to Your Call".

"Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. If someone rejects the Savior’s invitation because you did not do all you could have done, their sorrow will be yours. You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord. Your call carries grave responsibility. But you need not fear, because with your call come great promises."

Elder Helds (my trainer) last Konferens 
We have a huge responsibility with the calls that we have oavsett if it is in the church or in our families or with the people that we associate with. Read this talk, it has some amazing things about our responsibility but also the way that the Lord helps us through our callings. Its amazing to know that the things that we do have consequenses for the good or for the bad. For me it made me realize again how big the call I have is and how much the Lord will help in the process.  We all have a call, but we have to find out what it is and how to do it.

We also had the opportunity to go on Splits with Sundsvall so Elder Perkins came up to Umeå with me. He has been in the mission for a couple of months so it was fun to be with another missionary that had been out for just a little while. He is a really good missionary and we saw a lot of miracles. We had a lesson with an investigator and we were canceled on the last minute but we decided that we were there for a reason and that we needed to knock and talk to people at least a half hour before we went to our next thing. We knocked on a door and went to the next couple and then the person came out of that first door and just went to get his mail. I don't know if he wanted us to come over but we did anyway and said hey and explained who we were. We were able to go in and teach him for a half an hour and he told us to come back later that week. I know that we can plan with the spirit but also that we can affect people so much just if we are willing to go talk to them even if it might seem awkward (just try not to make it too awkward and its fine haha).

While we were in Jakobsberg... I dont know why they have onezies
We found a couple of other investigators while we were on splits and then went back to Ö-Vik which is in between Umeå and Sundsvall to switch back. We decided to go out and talk to people while the other elders were coming and we taught a man on the steps of this big building overlooking this beautiful lake and just taught him the plan of salvation and hopefully he goes to church in Ö-vik but it was amazing to go and just talk to people and help them to see that there is something bigger than themselves out there.

Later in the week, we were able to meet with a couple that have been investigating for awhile and know that the church is true... they just might not be married and thats kind of a problem for baptism haha. We had an amazing lesson with them and the spirit was just so strong because they really do know that everything is true they just have to act on that one thing. I usually talk a lot in lessons and know what to say but I honestly had ingen aning what I should say and so I kind of stayed quiet and try to listen to the Spirit and by the end of the lesson I had the thing that I knew that they needed to hear whether or not they would do anything about it. The spirit was super strong and it made me realize how much the spirit plays a role in what we do and can guide us even with just what to say.

The last thing that I will talk about because there was just so much this week was our multi stake Konferens. Elder Holland gave a talk in Skotland and we were able to listen to it. His talk was amazing and made everyone want to be better and talked all about the book of mormon and the truthfullness of it. Afterwards, we had Tistou, a new member, say that he feels more ”stiffnecked” after Elder Holland talks.... not as humble haha. I just want everyone to know how important that the Book of Mormon is to the work and for us individually. I know that it is true and that as we read it we come to know God and Jesus Christ in a way that nothing else could. If you are not reading it. READ IT, if you don't know if it is true then ASK. And know that God will answer the questions that you have. It has changed my life and, if you let it, it will change yours :)

Älskar er alla!! ni är bäste,

Äldste Israelsen

1. #umeå

2. While we were in Jakobsberg... I dont know why they have onezies

3. Elder Helds (my trainer) last Konferens

4. Övik

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Week 51, Miracles in Norrland, Splits in O-vik and I love being in Umea!


This week has been a little bit of an adventure and I am actually sending this in Stockholm because we came down for Zone Conference so I don't have much time. I just feel like they cant get id of me from Stockholm so they keep sending me back :) I am loving it in Umeå! Everything is going forward, our relationships with the ward and with less actives and even finding new investigators! It has been moving forward and the Lord knows how to move it forward its just incredible to see. The whole zone is doing really well and coming forward with everything and we are going to see some incredible miracles here in Norrland.

The first thing that happened this week was an amazing missionary experience that we have had with a member. She talked about someone that she knew that was going to the United States and is from Finland and needed help on his English and we helped her to get in contact with him and we are now teaching him English in the chapel three times a week!! It is just amazing to see how missionary work can be done and he has a Book of Mormon and just by naturally being in the chapel has asked questions about the church and we have had the opportunity to teach him more about it. Just think about the things that the people around you need and address them with the gospel and as that happens people will come to know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His purposes for us.

Another amazing thing that happened was with one of our members. We were able to help him move and he expressed to us that he needed a little help with stress. We hadn't thought about that before but we were able to tell him what he needed to hear and to give him a blessing of comfort. The amazing thing was that the spirit was there and we were able to really tell him what he needed to have more peace in his life. The amazing thing that I have come to find is that the spirit is so real and the reason why we need to live our lives to have it is to help the people that need it right when they are in need of something. I know that it is real and that if we live in the right way that we can serve people with exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

I also had the opportunity to go on splits in Ö-vik this week and we taught a golden investigator by just knocking on her door. After that lesson we left and talked to another lady and she let us in and we taught the family all about the gospel and set up another time to come back!! That was super cool to see for Ö-vik and we are so stoked to see that area grow as well :)

Everything is going really well and I love being here in Umeå. I know that the gospel is true and that as we serve to our capability the Lord will magnify whatever we can give Him to what needs to happen.

ha en bra vecka!!

Äldste Israelsen

sorry to everyone that didnt get an email this week it was seriously super short this week.